Trembley still O's manager as MacPhail, Angelos meet

Struggling bullpen, injuries, minor league call-ups among issues on team's plate

May 24, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Dave Trembley remained the Orioles' manager Monday while his bosses met again in hopes of improving major league baseball's worst team.

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail met with principal owner Peter Angelos on Monday, an occurrence that MacPhail joked is happening far too often for either man's liking.

"He's gotten a larger dose of me than I think he wants," MacPhail said. "He's gotten a heavy dose of me recently, but, obviously, he is more likely to see me when things aren't going well than when things go along as planned."

MacPhail wouldn't reveal the meeting's specifics, but Trembley surely was on the agenda. His job still isn't safe, but he survived Monday's day off, which came after the Orioles dropped two of three to the Washington Nationals and fell to 14-31 this season.

Asked about Trembley on Monday afternoon, MacPhail repeated what he has said in the past: His focus is on roster improvement and not his manager.

"We are still working through player personnel issues, which have increased based on our injury issues Sunday," MacPhail said.

Here are some issues facing the Orioles as they begin a three-game homestand with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night:

Bullpen reconstruction: Setup man Koji Uehara (strained right elbow) is expected to hit the disabled list Tuesday and likely will be joined by closer Alfredo Simon, who strained his left hamstring Sunday. The Orioles will recall one or two relievers from Triple-A Norfolk. Potential candidates include left-hander Alberto Castillo and righty Kam Mickolio, both of whom have pitched for the big league club this season. Norfolk closer Frank Mata, as well as Dennis Sarfate, Ross Wolf and Armando Gabino, could be considered, but none is on the 40-man roster.

A new closer: With Simon injured and Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson already on the DL, the Orioles have no obvious answer for closer. Lefty Will Ohman, who has not allowed an earned run in 14 2/3 innings this season, will most likely pitch the ninth inning, with save chances also potentially going to Cla Meredith and whomever is recalled from Norfolk.

Hernandez to bullpen: One option to help the flailing bullpen would be moving starter David Hernandez into a relief role. Hernandez (1-5, 5.31 ERA) would give the Orioles another reliever who could go multiple innings. To take his spot in the rotation, Chris Tillman or Jake Arrieta could be promoted. Neither Tillman nor Arrieta, two of the organization's top pitching prospects, is a bullpen candidate.

Rotation shuffle: Because of Monday's day off, the Orioles could skip Hernandez's start Thursday, give it to Brad Bergesen, who would be on regular rest, keep Kevin Millwood in line for Friday's start and insert the new pitcher for Saturday's game in Toronto. Tillman has the upper hand for the spot because he is on the club's 40-man roster.

Atkins' struggles: Garrett Atkins, who is batting .219 and is in a 0-for-16 skid, had just one plate appearance in Washington over the weekend. Despite a guaranteed $4.5 million contract, he is a candidate to be designated for assignment, though it likely won't be Tuesday. He is expected to start Tuesday night and Thursday against left-handed pitchers.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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